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July 28, 2018

Refuel with God’s Grace and Joy Throughout the Journey of Church Multiplication

By Ed Stetzer

The journey of mission, and thus of movemental Christianity and multiplication, is like that of a life-long roller coaster. There will be moments where you feel as though you and your church are atop the mountain basking in the glory of God’s grace—praising Him for moving so powerfully. And then, seemingly just a few moments later, you’ll realize you plummeted from the summit and are struggling to unite and move the church forward in mission.

Whether you are atop the summit, in the depths of the valley, or in the barren land of the desert, it will be vital for you personally (and the church corporately) to refuel your spirit with God’s great grace and His abundant joy as you move through the journey of movemental Christianity and becoming a Level Five multiplying church.

Throughout Scripture, those who participated in the mission of God always faced opposition and hardships. Take Paul for instance. Paul provided a list of all his difficulties in ministry and even noted that he had a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 11,12). But, in the midst of difficulties and experiencing a thorn in the flesh Paul shared that God spoke to him and said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:8, 10). In the storm of difficulties and hardships God’s grace was the peace agent that calmed the heart of Paul and moved him onward in mission. That same grace can and will encourage you when you face difficulties in your journey of multiplication.

In addition to refueling with God’s grace, it’s important that you be filled with His joy and His happiness. I understand that it’s easier to be joyful when all is well versus when all hell is breaking loose. Yet, James exhorts us to, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). Why should we choose to be joyful and to be happy in the midst of difficulties? Because it is in those moments God is shaping us and modeling us into the people He desires us to be. Paul puts it this way in Romans, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Rom. 8:28–29). Because God is doing a work in us—conforming us into the image of Jesus—as we face “all” sorts of things, we can refuel our spirits with God’s abundant joy knowing that what He is doing in us will eventually come out through us. Thus, the “joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Neh. 8:10).

Are you hoping to begin the journey towards movemental Christianity and becoming a Level Five multiplying church? Are you in the journey, but facing some difficulties? Are you at the top of your game? Remember that what God has showed you and put inside of you at the moment of salvation is His grace and joy. May these elements refuel you constantly as you press onward in His mission.

*This article is an excerpt from Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow that I wrote with Daniel Im. Download the e-book for free or purchase hard copies of this book here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer), Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. Ed also serves as the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton, and as chair of the Evangelism and Leadership Program in the Graduate School. Ed is a prolific author, and well-known conference speaker. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is also the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, which is used by over 1 million individuals each week. As of fall 2015, Stetzer co-hosts BreakPoint This Week, a radio broadcast that airs on over 400 media outlets. He also serves the teaching pastor at Christ Fellowship, a multi-cultural megachurch in Miami, Florida.

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